‘Drug money flowed during polls’
Police are investigating reports that drug money flowed during last Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they are still validating the reports.
Albayalde admitted that as of yesterday, they still had no hold
on 127 barangay chiefs linked by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to the drug trade.
Visiting for the first time the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters since he assumed command of the PNP last April 19, Albayalde was asked whether barangay chairmen in the PDEA’s narco list used drug money to win in the last election.
“We are validating the report and in coordination with the PDEA we would do something to have them hauled to court,” he said.
Albayalde noted that in Metro Manila alone, six of the 12 barangay chairmen in the PDEA’s narco list won in the election.
He suggested drug money could have been used in the elections. “Maybe it is more than 50 percent of those in the narco list won,” he said.
What the PNP noted though is that there was massive vote buying in the last elections, which is “happening all over the country every election day.”
Albayalde directed his regional and district directors to gather evidence of vote buying against barangay chairmen and other candidates “so we could do something against them.”
When pressed why the barangay chairmen in the PDEA narco list won despite being subjected to massive negative information drive, Albayalde explained that they could have been members of big families in their neighborhood.
“Maybe the voters don’t believe the accusations against them so they voted for them,” Albayalde said.
But he reiterated his plan to subject the narco barangay chairmen to “tokhang” operations should they fail to stop their nefarious activities.
“Like what President Duterte had said, their winning is not a ticket or excuse for them to be excluded in tokhang operations,” he stressed.
Tokhang is a Cebuano term for knock and plead, where individuals suspected of being involved in illegal drugs would be visited by policemen and asked to stop their illegal activities and reform.
The PNP has credited the Tokhang program for the surrender of at least 1.3 million suspected drug offenders.
Albayalde had said the PNP will support the PDEA in gathering evidence that would warrant the filing of administrative cases against the erring barangay officials.
PDEA director general Aaron Aquino earlier said they are eyeing a lifestyle check on barangay officials included in the narco list.
The PNP has its list of barangay officials suspected of involvement in illegal drugs in each region. Their list contains more names than those in the PDEA list.